All businesses should carry out regular fire risk assessments. Not only is fire dangerous to life but it can also cause significant damage to stock, equipment, and buildings. Ignoring the risk of fire may lead to financial loss, injury, and even death. If you have recently set up a small business, read on for some essential fire prevention tips.
Install a Fire Detection and Prevention System
A fire detection and prevention system is the best way to keep your staff and your business safe. Smoke alarms will detect smoke very quickly and a sprinkler system will dampen and extinguish the fire before it gets out of hand.
If the building is rented, the landlord may already have such systems in place. If you have bought the building, or are constructing a warehouse or similar, make fire detection and prevention a priority. Speak to a fire prevention services provider for expert advice on what you need, as well as maintenance requirements.
Keep Fire Extinguishers in Key Locations
All businesses should have fire extinguishers in key locations, so if a fire unexpectedly breaks out, it can be extinguished very quickly. Legal requirements vary according to the country, but it is usually customary to have a minimum of two fire extinguishers on each floor of a building unless it’s very small. These should be serviced at least annually. It is also advisable to have a fire safety blanket in kitchen areas.
Maintain Electrical Equipment
Faulty electrical equipment is a common cause of fires, both in the home and in commercial premises. You must have all equipment serviced regularly, but electrical equipment should be checked annually, and if there is any sign of a problem, it should be repaired or replaced. Any fires are caused by faulty outlets, so older outlets should be replaced before worn-out wiring becomes a hazard.
Safely Store Flammable Materials
Keep flammable chemicals safely locked up, in a fire-proof container. Make sure training is provided before such materials are handled in the workplace.
Don’t forget that things like paper and fabric are highly flammable. Don’t store recycled or discarded paper and fabric near fire exits and ideally, remove them off-premises as quickly as possible.
Keep the Premises Tidy
Commercial buildings need to be kept tidy, so fire escape routes are not impeded. Regularly monitor fire escape routes and make sure exit doors are not blocked by boxes or equipment. Keep corridors and walkways clear at all times. Do not allow electrical cables to trail over walkways, as these are a trip hazard in the event of a fire – and at any other time too.
Fit Fire Escape Signs and Emergency Lights
Have adequate signage fixed to walls and exit doors, so employees can find the exit quickly and safely. Fit emergency lights that activate when the power goes out.
Finally, ensure all staff are appropriately trained in fire prevention and run fire drills regularly. Appoint a fire warden to take responsibility if a fire does break out.
Follow the advice above to keep your business and your employees safe.